Faculty and Staff

Center faculty and staff.

Center faculty and staff.

We are healthcare consumers, caregivers, and survivors. We are teachers and learners.

We are healthcare providers, lawyers, social workers, researchers, and policy shapers.

We are collaborators and problem-solvers. We are advocates.

To contact a specific staff person, call (608) 265-6267 or email us at info@patientpartnerships.org.

Meg Gaines. Photo by Amber Arnold

Martha “Meg” Gaines, J.D., LLM

Director / Clinical Professor

Martha “Meg” Gaines, founder and director of the Center, was called to advocacy work after her own experience with illness. In 1994, Meg was diagnosed with ovarian cancer which ultimately spread to her liver. In early 1995, a doctor told her to “go home and think about the quality, not the quantity” of her remaining days. Her children were toddlers at the time. But Meg did not go home and die. She went on an odyssey around the United States and found the surgeon who would save her life.

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Once she was in remission, Meg returned to her job at the law school and, in 1998, was named Assistant Dean for Student and Academic Affairs. But Meg soon felt called to a new career. Mindful of the role her education and resources played in her survival, Meg decided to commit her professional energies to helping other patients facing life threatening and serious chronic illnesses get the care they need. In September 2000, she and several colleagues founded the Center.

Meg received her undergraduate degree in religion from Vassar College in 1977 and graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1983. Following her graduation, she served as a law clerk in Arizona and as a trial attorney for the Milwaukee office of the State Public Defender. In 1987, she returned to the Remington Center at the University of Wisconsin Law School to teach. She earned her post-graduate Master of Laws degree in 1993 from the University of Wisconsin.

Sarah Davis, J.D., MPA

Associate Director / Clinical Asst. Professor

As Center Associate Director, Sarah Davis is currently collaborating with our new Directors of National Initiatives and Educational Development on our exciting emerging endeavors in e-learning, professional field-building, and activities related enhancing the capacity of patients to influence state and federal health policy, and the responsiveness of the health care system to consumers’ experiences.

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Sarah co-teaches Center courses and in Integrative Cases at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. She serves as principal investigator/preceptor for MPH and medical students engaged in research projects at the Center. Sarah provides significant leadership to curriculum development at the Center – including formation of our Certificate programs, new course development (recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Course Development Grant), and currently the JD-MPH joint degree program. She also serves as a consultant to health care organizations who are engaging health care consumers in health systems improvement efforts.

Sarah served as the chair of UW’s Interprofessional Health Committee from 2008-10 and currently represents the Center on the SaveBadgerCare and Covering Kids and Families coalitions. Publications include: “Educating for Health Advocacy in Settings of Higher Education” in Patient Advocacy for Health Care Quality: Strategies for Achieving Patient-Centered Care, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc. (with Meg and Rachel) and “Ten Strategies to Build Partnerships With Patients,” Wisconsin Medical Journal (with Meg and former colleague Mary Michaud).

Sarah graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Concurrently, she obtained a master’s degree from the La Follette School of Public Affairs, during which she staffed the Dane County/Madison Joint Public Health Advisory Committee, working towards the unification of the county and city public health departments.

Rachel Grob, M.A., Ph.D.

Director of National Initiatives / Associate Clinical Professor

Rachel Grob, Ph.D. is the Center’s Director of National Initiatives. Rachel is leading the Center’s policy and research initiatives, collaborating with Center staff and other visiting scholars on patient advocacy field-building projects. Rachel brings to her position an ongoing affiliation with a range of organizations and institutions active in health reform, advocacy education, and health policy. She is also an experienced educator, coalition builder, and qualitative researcher.

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Rachel’s scholarship about the theory and practice of advocacy is extensive, and includes collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of scholars to conceptualize and articulate a set of principles about how patients’ diverse voices can best be incorporated into democratic deliberation about health policy. This project was published in a volume on that topic titled Patients as Policy Actors (Rutgers University Press, 2011). Her qualitative research has been published in numerous articles and book chapters, including her book Testing Baby: The Transformation of Newborn Screening, Parenting, and Policymaking (Rutgers University Press, 2011).

From 2003 – 2011, Rachel was associate dean of graduate studies at Sarah Lawrence College, and she has been on the faculty of the College’s Health Advocacy Program (HAP) since 1998. For her last four years at Sarah Lawrence, she also directed the college’s Child Development Institute, engaging in research, outreach, and program development focused on children, childhood and education. As a Health Advocacy Program faculty member, Rachel taught a number of courses and played a central role in curriculum development, particularly with respect to increased focus on the linkages between individual patient advocacy, community mobilization, and system-level policy change. Over this same time – working in conjunction with CPP’s Meg Gaines and Sarah Davis –she played a formative role in nascent efforts to develop professional codes and ethics for the health advocacy profession. Rachel, Meg and Sarah co-authored: “Educating for Health Advocacy in Settings of Higher Education” in Patient Advocacy for Health Care Quality: Strategies for Achieving Patient-Centered Care. Edited by J. Earp, E. French, M. Gilkey. Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc. (2008). Rachel’s research and scholarship on the connection between advocacy and policy change has been funded by an Investigator Award in Health Policy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2006 – present).

Prior to completing her doctorate in sociology and moving into higher education full time, Rachel worked as a health advocate in public, non-profit, and community settings.

Kelly Douglas

Development Director

Kelly is the Center’s first Development Director, a role dedicated to raising funds to support and advance the ground-breaking work at the Center. A dual aspect of her position is communicating the purpose and advancements of the Center and the patient advocacy field to our supporters and stakeholders.

With a background in non-profit management, including fundraising and business development, Kelly brings the experience and energy needed to help propel our mission forward. The path to the Center has been carved out not only through her experience with an advocacy based, empowerment focused agency and a welcome reconnection to the university where she received her undergrad degree, but also through her own personal struggle with a diagnosis of malignant melanoma at the age of 20. While this path took various curves and detours, Kelly is thankful that these various elements of her experience lead her to the Center.

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Kelly received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a certificate in Women’s Studies. Supporting women’s health and well being has been a central focus of her work, as well as creating access for under-served populations to necessary resources. Kelly also volunteers on the Fundraising Committee for Hillside Health Care International, a small clinic that provides essential medical care, disease prevention, community outreach and health education to the people of Southern Belize, as well as offering global health education for medical students.

Marc Korobkin, J.D.

Instructional Technology Specialist

Passionate about technology and education, Marc primarily serves as technology translator and administrator in CPP’s eLearning endeavors and other projects. He regularly collaborates with faculty, staff, and consultants to craft innovative instructional solutions that are intuitive and pedagogically sound. Marc has played an instrumental role in transforming CPP’s traditionally face-to-face curriculum to a blended and online format. This transformation involved instructional design and technology development for a blended eService Learning course, and 4 completely online courses. Marc is also involved in many other areas of CPP’s work, including development, marketing, and communications.

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Other examples of Marc’s work include the migration to and implementation of the Center’s case management system, and the continued support and training of staff and students on this system. He is well versed in a variety of open source content management systems, including wordpress and Drupal, CiviCRM, graphic design applications, and Google Apps.

Marc graduated from University of Wisconsin Law School in 2009 and currently serves on the UW Health Adult Patient and Family Advisory Council. When he is not at the Center, Marc enjoys photography, with many of his pictures being featured on the Center’s various websites and at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center.

Blake J. Bishop, M.S.

Student Services Coordinator

Blake’s primary duties are focused on helping students at the Center with all aspects of their educational experience. He enjoys providing guidance with admissions, advising, financial aid, and making sure that students possess everything they need to have a successful experience. Blake received his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis (ELPA) from UW-Madison, which has provided him with the skills he needs to guide individuals along their educational journey

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In addition to serving students, Blake also provides the Center with his marketing expertise. By managing the outreach and recruitment activities both locally and nationally he ensures that the CPP sustains growth while maintaining and constantly improving upon the quality of education that students receive. Blake received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing Communications from Bemidji State University.

In his free time, Blake enjoys traveling, volunteering, and pretty much all outdoor activities. Although he loves being outside, on Sundays in the fall you’ll always find him at home cheering on the Packers (unless he’s actually at the game, of course). He also enjoys serving as an Executive Board Member with the Madison Student Personnel Association as well as being an active member of other professional organizations.

Kathy O’Connell, Ph.D.

Lead Advocacy Faculty

Kathy has many years of teaching and clinical health care provider experience, as well as a passion for curriculum development and qualitative research. She comes to the Center from the University of Wisconsin (UW) School of Medicine and Public Health/Department of Medicine where her responsibilities included curriculum development and oversight of the post-graduate medical education curriculum for the internal medicine residency and fellowships. Kathy also brings experience from the UW’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) where she created adult educational modules for faculty researchers and communities in Type 2 Translational Research (T2TR). She has also served as a member of the research and evaluation team for the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI), which afforded her opportunities in qualitative research and design.

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Kathy received her PhD from the UW’s Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Department. Her graduate program and dissertation focus were in higher education institutional transformation and academic change and innovation.

Suzanne Lee, M.D.

Advocacy Faculty, Medical Director

Suzanne Lee is the staff physician at the Center for Patient Partnerships. Her areas of expertise include helping clients understand confusing diagnoses and their ramifications; researching the medical literature to assist patients in making evidence-based treatment choices; interfacing with the medical community to improve patient/physician communication; and, her favorite, searching for clinical trials.

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Suzanne graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art history from Mount Holyoke College, and a medical degree from Wayne State University. Her post-graduate training includes a pediatric internship, followed by residency training in adult psychiatry at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, where she won the Michael Reese Medical Staff Award in recognition of “professional competence and a warm and humane attitude toward patients and their families.” While at Michael Reese, Suzanne implemented a psychiatric screening program for all pediatric oncology in-patients. She has additional fellowship training in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Chicago. She has also worked in hospital consultation-liaison psychiatry and community mental health psychiatry.

Advocacy has been a way of life for Suzanne’s family. Her mother, a cancer survivor and life-long community activist, is the president of the board for a non-profit agency serving at-risk youth. Suzanne’s father, a physician and survivor of advanced prostate cancer, assertively advocated that he be treated with novel therapies and has dedicated the latter part of his career to the cryosurgical treatment of prostate cancer. He is also an outspoken advocate for the screening and early diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Suzanne’s most personal effort navigating our complex medical system was advocating for her own son, who was having medical problems and facing developmental disabilities. Married to a physician, and counting many medical doctors among her family and friends, Suzanne is able to draw knowledge from a vast array of specialists.

Lael Sheber, R.N., BSN

Advocacy Faculty, Spanish Services Coordinator

Lael Sheber provides patient advocacy and supervision to professional and graduate students at the Center for Patient Partnerships. Helping others communicate with medical providers to get the care they deserve has been the foundation of Lael’s work in health care for almost two decades. Lael’s professional background includes working as a labor and delivery nurse in a hospital setting, as a prenatal and triage nurse in a community clinic setting, and as a homebirth midwife. She is a conversational Spanish speaker and has worked within the latino community throughout her career.

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Lael’s experience advocating for others in the medical system became a personal one in July 2008 when her 3 year old son was diagnosed with leukemia. Although she was experienced in advocating for patients within the health care system, advocating for her son brought this to a deeper level. The advocacy work she continues to do for her son has not only improved his care and subsequently his health, but the relationships with their health care team as well.

Working at the Center For Patient Partnerships allows Lael to share her work and personal experiences in health care to not only improve people’s lives through advocacy but to also inspire and support others working in this field.

Jessica Gilkison, J.D.

Advocacy Faculty

Jessica Gilkison provides patient advocacy and supervision to professional and graduate students at the Center for Patient Partnerships. Jessica was drawn to the Center through her positive experiences in clinical programs while in law school, as well as her family’s experience receiving services from the Center.

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While at the University of Wisconsin Law School (’99), Jessica participated in clinical programs at the Wisconsin Coalition for Advocacy (now Disability Rights Wisconsin), the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Elder Law Center of the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups.

Jessica has experience as a support person for family members with serious health issues. She draws on this experience as a member of the UW Health Adult Patient and Family Advisory Council. A member of Jessica’s family was a client of the Center in 2007 and received support in seeking a second opinion and navigating the realm of clinical trials. The support was invaluable and Jessica was thrilled when the opportunity arose for her to join the Center staff.

Prior to joining the Center, Jessica worked as a staff attorney at Disability Rights Wisconsin providing training and supervision to benefit specialists in the Disability Benefit Specialist Program, for which she was previously the program coordinator.

Pete Daly

Advocacy Faculty

Pete Daly advocates for patients at the center through his direct experience as a cancer patient and continuing client of the center. In September 2002 he faced Stage III Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Through the help of the center, he built his medical and support teams, entered a long lasting clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI), and learned to proactively address his health care. Not long after his diagnosis and receiving “as his life depended upon it” direction from Director Meg Gaines, Pete began working at the Center by directly assisting other patients and supervising professional degree students.

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In his cancer journey, Pete has faced multiple recurrences, each time leaning upon his local medical team at the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center, the clinical researchers at NIH/NCI, and the support of the center, friends and family. Pete and his wife, Nancy, have two children, Sam and Mary, and family is central to his wellbeing. Prior to his involvement with the center, Pete worked for 28 years as manager of a local private engineering practice and as a consultant.

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